In my opinion, it's easier to quit smoking forever if you can separate the two addictions.
We all know nicotine is what makes us smoke short term.
When it wears off, we want more, so, we smoke.
That's the physical cycle of the addiction.
If that was the only driving force of smoking you could be put in rehab for two weeks and be free.
The problem is you've puffed a cigarette hundreds of thousands of times and while you did it, your senses were still alert, connecting smoking to other things and saving the smoking connection to those other things in your mind.
When you get the urge to smoke after you've quit, if you are still connecting nicotine to those urges and supplying yourself with it, you aren't doing the disconnecting and likely, slowing your freedom.
I'm not saying don't use nicotine replacement but I encourage you to use it wisely so as not to stay in the physical addiction cycle by connecting it to cravings.
I believe the patch breaks that cycle. You aren't throwing nicotine at a crave and retaining that connection. You are unlearning those connections.